It is hard to imagine the Royal Navy figuring in a carnival procession in the 21st Century, but in 1911 or 1912, Carnival float no. 23 was photographed in Clarence Road, Ventnor in front of Violet Cottage which occupied a position near to the junction with East Street. What the float reveals is the scale of enrolment in the armed forces within the working population, the Navy especially, even more so given the proximity of the Portsmouth Naval Dockyard.
The image shows Sidney Higgins, as a young boy, third from left in the front line, his back to the radio operator. Second from left, standing behind Sidney, is his father Edward who was originally in the Navy, but transferred to the Coastguard in 1901, stationed at Brighstone. There he married and started a family. From 1909 to 1913, he moved on to Ventnor, and then briefly to Southsea, only to be called back into the Navy on the outbreak of war in 1914. Tragically, Edward lost his life at the Battle of Jutland in 1916
Read PDF version here: A Ventnor Carnival float of over a century ago: the Royal Navy